Many aspects of my life used to suffer due to my concerning drinking, with relationships being at the top of the list.
I think that alcohol played a huge role in my boyfriend and I’s relationship not flourishing right away. We met four years ago and had an instant connection. But only two weeks after we first met, I got arrested for drinking and driving…talk about killing the mood. I had so much going on and continued to drink heavily and dangerously even after that traumatic event, which I’m sure was a bit of a red flag to him. Even though we continued to see each other on and off for years, I can understand how it was hard to see any kind of stability or future with somebody who prioritized drinking over everything and was always acting like somebody she wasn’t.
I ruined one romantic fling after the next due to my drinking. I ruined first dates because I got too drunk, I would embarrass myself to the point where guys completely lost interest and never reached out again, and sometimes guys would just tell me that I drank too much. I felt like I had no problem initially attracting a guy, but keeping one around for more than a few weeks was impossible. I started to go for guys who drank a lot too or were hot messes themselves so I didn’t seem too bad in comparison. But at the end of the day, I think we would both know that it wasn’t going anywhere.
It was very hard for me to establish and maintain genuine friendships during those years as well. My “best friend” at the time was somebody who could relate to my excessive need to drink and party at all times. Many of my friendships formed over happy hours and Ladies Nights and that’s where the friendships stayed. I didn’t have many people who I could call if I needed a real friend or some emotional support, but I knew plenty of people who I could call to meet me at the bar at any given moment.
A situation that still irks me to this day is when a group of girls I used to hang out with completely kicked me to the curb because they were sick of my drinking. They were girls from my sorority who (initially) still wanted to be my friend despite the fact that I got kicked out, which I really appreciated. They seemed to put up with my drunken antics and laughed it off with me when I had an embarrassing night…which happened a lot. We even had plans for me to move into their house once my lease was up. One day, I got a text saying that there was a change of plans. They didn’t want to live with me anymore. I got one excuse after the other and it just didn’t add up. Finally, one of the girls admitted that it was because my drinking scared them. I still get really upset when I think about it.
In hindsight, the state and quality of my relationships were probably the most obvious tell-tale sign that I had a drinking problem. But so many of the people around me had their own issues with drinking, so it was easy for me to convince myself that I was no different than anyone else.
As for my current romantic relationship, my boyfriend is my heart and soul. We finally got serious about each other and settled down when we spent more time together sober and actually got to know each other…surprise, surprise. And since I’ve quit drinking, I know that there is less stress in our relationship. It was exhausting for him to always be worrying about my safety and well-being. It was also energy-draining and frustrating for both of us when I would blackout and have anxiety and depression for multiple days after. I would complain, cry, and have pity parties for myself and then repeat the cycle the next weekend. It got to the point where he didn’t want to hear it anymore.
Even though my boyfriend met me in the height of my drinking days, he definitely knows me well enough at this point to understand that I am better off sober.
The right people will stick around and support your sobriety no matter what. If somebody loves the real you, they will stand by your side when you decide to quit drinking.
And if people fizzle out of your life because of your sobriety, who cares? You’re better off.